For Immediate Release: February 28, 1997
Contact: George Hacker 202/332-9110, ext. 343

Broad Coalition Attacks Liquor Ads on Radio and Television
-- Urges House Support for Kennedy "Just Say No" Bill --

Sixty national, state, and local organizations joined yesterday in a letter to all members of the House of Representatives urging their support for legislation to ban the advertising of distilled spirits on radio and television. The letter, which encouraged members to "stand up for children and 'Just Say No' to hard liquor ads in the broadcast media," asked the Representatives to co-sponsor and support a bill ("Just Say No" Act) by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II that will be introduced in the House within the next few days.

The letter noted that most distillers and broadcasters still adhere to the voluntary industry ban on broadcast liquor advertising that had been in force for decades. It pointed out that distillers had often cited the voluntary ban as a key element in the industry's responsibility to "combat alcohol abuse." George Hacker, director of the Alcohol Policies Project at Center for Science in the Public Interest, a spokesman for the letter's co-signers, questioned the liquor industry's decision to "turn its back on alcohol abuse" by repealing the voluntary ban last November.

"Our children already receive too many commercial messages in the broadcast media that teach them how and encourage them to drink.... Allowing liquor ads on the air can only lead to greater alcohol consumption and higher levels of alcohol problems," the letter stated. The letter referred to recent data from the federal "Monitoring the Future Study" of school children that revealed continuing excessive levels of binge drinking among high school students and increases in drunkenness among 8th graders.

"Rather than permit distillers the same unfettered access to our children that brewers now enjoy," the letter continues, "Congress should examine ways to reduce all alcohol advertising that reaches substantial numbers of underage persons. The 'Just Say No' Act provides a reasonable starting point for that important undertaking."

In addition to Center for Science in the Public Interest, groups co-signing the letter included the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Center for Media Education, Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco, National Association of African-Americans for Positive Imagery, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, National Families in Action, National Family Partnership, Scott Newman Center, and The Arc (Association of Retarded Citizens).

Letter to the House in Support of the "Just Say No" Bill